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Poster: Vingill Date: May 4, 2019 4:28am
Forum: spiritualityandreligion Subject: Spirituality Vs Religion

I believe that a person can live a spiritual life without adopting a secular religious belief system.
The core difference between religion and spirituality is that religion presents you a set of beliefs, dogmas and “holy men” as intermediaries between you and Spirit (whatever you may call it); while spirituality promotes your individual autonomy in defining and connecting to Spirit as it fits your heart and mind.

Religion and spirituality can be together, and many people find spirituality inside their religion, and for them these differences may not be so relevant or true, since the two things are mixed. But for those interested in pure spirituality, regardless of religious affiliation, let me expand on the difference between religion and spirituality in a quote:

“Religion asks you to believe. Spirituality asks you to look.
Religion has dogmas. Spirituality has wisdom teachings.
Religion wants obedience. Spirituality wants experimentation.
Religion speaks of sin and hell. Spirituality speaks of karma.
Religion wants to comfort you. Spirituality wants to liberate you.
Religion is external. Spirituality is internal.
Religion is the form. Spirituality is the essence.
Religion wants to convert you. Spirituality wants to inspire you.
Religion is an institution. Spirituality is a journey.”

Religion promotes shame and guilt. Spirituality promotes self-honesty and awareness.
Religion asks you to sacrifice your present attachments for a promised future. Spirituality asks you to let go of your present attachments for a better present.
Spirituality is the true essence, and the true origin, of every religious movement. So how is it that eventually spirituality gets the back seat, and what we are mostly left with are dogmas and empty rituals?

Buddha was not Buddhist; Jesus was not Christian. They were highly realized spiritual men; they were spiritual but not religious! They had a group of disciples who were also, in great part, moved by a spiritual search. But as centuries pass, as the groups start increasing and social acceptance grows, people who are not really burning with that spiritual drive start joining in and redefining the movement.

They join because it feels noble to do so, or because their parents expect, or because they were born poor and at least in the church/monastery there are meals every day. Or maybe they just needed the consolation and comfort that religion can give, to find shelter from the suffering of life, and a respectable position in society.

This is not a criticism nor a judgment of character, but just a description of how, by becoming more popular and accepted by society, the spiritual element of each religious movement gets watered down or distorted, and what is left is a social institution. Teachings become dogmas, principles become moral rules, spiritual practice becomes ritual, experiences become stories—in short, spirituality becomes religion. What was once private and intimate becomes a social institution.

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Poster: Nanda Mala Date: Dec 5, 2019 2:24am
Forum: spiritualityandreligion Subject: Re: Spirituality Vs Religion

I do agree with Vingill's definition on spirituality & religion which is often mixed up by most people. Organised religions have their norms and beliefs which may conflict with each other as they are based upon their own views, whereas spirituality is universal and when it is combined with humanity we can make the world a better place for everyone.
After all every mortal human being is seeking protection and justice since the world is insecure. Thus, the concept of the God is created to ensure protection and justice. Since time immemorial humans are looking for the God, and have identified and personified the God as the head of their religions, causing conflicts and wars if their beliefs did not agree.
As Vingill has put forward, both Buddha and Jesus did not form any organised religion, but taught their followers how and where to look for in their search for the Truth, in the context of the God. The Buddha, however, being fully enlightened was omnipotent and he was able to see the Truth. The Buddha has revealed who the God really is, and has taught his followers how to liberate themselves from the suffering.
The Buddha revealed the God as a set of natural laws and phenomenon governing the universe and all its inhabitants. He labelled the God as the Dhamma and revealed to his followers that the God is not a person or a being, and that it is eternal, whereas, the Buddha, being a human is mortal and he had to die, but his teachings will last for a longer period. His teaching will merge with the Dhamma once it has vanished from humans at one time.
Thus, when the Buddhist religion was formed the Dhamma became the second veneration in the Holy Trinity of the Buddhists.
On the other hand, Jesus, like the Buddha, but he is not yet fully enlightened, knew vaguely who the God is, and has hinted his followers to look into (internally) oneself for the God. He is a would-be-Buddha who will become fully enlightened in his second coming to the human world to save mankind. Please note it is easier to get enlightened if someone meets a life-Buddha and hears a sermon which can be called salvation/saviour. Thus, when Christianity religion was born, Jesus became the Son-of-God, and is venerated as part of the Holy Trinity by the Christians.
In summary, those who believe in spirituality and humanity will become followers of the next Buddha when they realise the true nature of the God one day. Those who cling on to a religion will understand the true nature of the God when it will be revealed by the next life-Buddha one day.
May peace be with everybody and stop maiming or killing one another in the name of religion!
This is my Christmas Message.
Nanda Mala

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Poster: j jonson Date: Dec 12, 2019 3:18am
Forum: spiritualityandreligion Subject: Re: Spirituality Vs Religion

Excellent post!